It is a vacation full of incredible scenery and beauty, an untamed frontier of danger and mystery that sits on most bucketlists everywhere. It is the African Safari.
A safari is without a doubt an adventure that cannot be match anywhere in the world. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, going on a safari through the Savanna Plains of Africa is one of those things that while you are experiencing it, you can’t help but think… “Wow, and this happens every day!”
A trek through Tanzania with Mt. Kilimanjaro as a backdrop sets the scene for one of the most spectacular events in the animal kingdom, the Great Migration. This incredible annual event of over 2 million herbivores grazing their way across the Serengeti plains in search of newer pastures and water is an awesome spectacle of cat and mouse as herds of zebra, gazelle and wildebeest fight for survival against the elements and prey, in what can only be described as one of the most phenomenal natural wonders of the world. The circle of life reaches its peak at the Grumeti Senengeti Tented Camp as over 1.5 million wildebeest attempt the terrifying river crossing in crocodile infested waters in order to continue north.
When you think of an African safari, images of The Big 5 come to mind. Originally chosen by hunters listed by difficulty in hunting and the danger they possess, the lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, and Cape buffalo are still tracked and stalked by safaris every day. Good news for the Big 5 is that for the most part, they are being looked at through a telephoto lens instead of a rifle scope. Of course, cruising along in your 4×4 safari truck also presents opportunity to view other favorites such as the giraffe, hippo, hyena, baboon and cheetahs just to name a few. The experience of waking up in your resort and stepping out on to your porch to see giraffe walk by as the sun is coming up over the plains is something that you will never forget. The best viewing of these icons of the animal planet is on a safari in Kenya but modern-day safaris are not just about the animals anymore. While visiting Kenya or Tanzania, a stop to a traditional Maasai village is just as rewarding as crossing “male lion” off of your “must see on safari” list.
The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is an amazing place to get year-round viewing of the extensive wildlife, to interact with the Maasai and while not out on a day safari, being pampered in some of the most exclusive and first-class accommodations found anywhere in the world. However, at up to $3000/night, you’ll be glad know there are alternatives for accommodation.
Accommodation on safaris range from traditional “under the stars” tent camps to first class resorts that you wouldn’t expect out in the middle of the African plains. Unique living such as tree-top style resorts or spending nights with the Maasai, it’s all available and fits into your budget and style, it all depends on your comfort level.
While not on safari, or for a change of pace, take a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro for a spectacular view of the Savanna laid out before you or take a hot air balloon ride for an aerial view of the thunderous herd below.
As humans we are often fascinated by the animal kingdom and sure, you can go to a zoo, but there is nothing like seeing the nature of the beast in its natural environment and its raw and pure form. It is the attraction of seeing the incredible power of the elephant, the stalking ability of the lion, the gracefulness of the giraffe and gazelle, and the daily fight for survival that draw us to the safari and it’s the natural instinct or bond we have to these beasts that we associate ourselves with that allow us to leave the safari knowing we experienced something really special.